Chase Freedom Flex Card and Chase Freedom Unlimited card.
New Chase Freedom Flex Card announced as well as updates to the Chase Freedom Unlimited.

Four years after Chase introduced their new premium card Chase Sapphire Reserve, our word is again abuzz with exciting news. It’s a bit surprising that Chase introduced the changes in the middle of the pandemic and after tightening approvals for their existing cards, but more credit card options from one of our favorite banks is always good news. 

Holding premium credit cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve, allowed the cardmembers to enjoy the cards’ numerous benefits, such as Priority Pass access, travel protections, increased earning rates and elevated travel portal redemptions. 

No fee credit cards, such as the Chase Freedom and the Chase Freedom Unlimited, also enjoyed a pride of place in our wallets. Thanks to Freedom’s rotating quarterly 5X categories and the Freedom Unlimited’s earning rate of 1.5X on all spend, you can accumulate a good stash of Ultimate Rewards just on things you buy everyday.  

It’s very easy to turn cash back earned with these no fee cards into Ultimate Rewards by combining the points earned with these cards with points earned with one of Chase’s premium cards, i.e. a card that has an annual fee. 

Today we learned about some major changes to Chase’s lineup of Freedom cards, including the introduction of the brand new Chase Freedom Flex card and improvements to the Chase Freedom Unlimited. 

Chase Freedom to Close to New Applicants

Chase Freedom

The Chase Freedom card will be discontinued and closed to new applications on September 14, 2020. Existing Freedom cardholders can choose if they want to keep the Chase Freedom or product change this card to the Chase Freedom Flex. 

A couple of things to keep in mind. If you already have the Freedom card, you won’t be eligible for the welcome bonus on the Chase Freedom Flex. However, if you have the Chase Freedom Unlimited, you will be eligible for the welcome bonus. 

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

The Chase Freedom Unlimited has recently undergone a very customer-friendly overhaul. 

The universal 1.5% earning card now earns 5% cash back on grocery store purchases on up to $12,000 spent in the first year. 

Today, Chase surprised us with an upgrade to this already excellent no-fee card. Starting September 15, the card will now earn extra points in these categories:

  • 5% cashback on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3% cashback on dining, takeout, and eligible delivery services
  • 3% cashback at drugstores

The card would still earn 1.5% cashback on everything else. 

You don’t need to do anything, the new categories will be available on September 15. 

New cardholders can earn a $200 bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months. 

Chase Freedom Flex

It’s been a while since Chase introduced a brand new credit card. Today they unveiled a new Mastercard that comes with great spending categories. 

The card comes with the same welcome bonus as was available for Freedom, including $200 cash back after $500 in the first three months from account opening and 5% back on the first $12,000 spent on grocery purchases within the first year. 

The new bonus categories include:

  • 5% on bonus quarterly categories. Similar to the old Freedom, cardmembers will have to activate 5% back each quarter to receive 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases on bonus categories 
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards 
  • 3% cash back on dining, takeout, and eligible delivery services
  • 3% cash back at drugstores

The card would still earn 1% cashback on everything else. 

Compared to the old Chase Freedom Card, the new Chase Freedom Flex Card will offer a 5% bonus for travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards and a 3% bonus on dining and drugstores. 

It’s great to see such a significant bump up in earnings on the no fee card. 

Chase Freedom Flex Mastercard World Elite Benefits

The biggest change is the switch from Visa to Mastercard, as the cardholders will now have access to the World Elite Mastercard perks. The benefits include discounts on various products and services. Here are some of the most valuable benefits:

  • Cell Phone Insurance – Up to $800 per claim and $1,000 per year in cell phone protection against theft or damage for phones listed on cardmembers’ monthly bill
  • Lyft $10 in credit for every five rides taken in a calendar month, automatically applied to the next ride and capped at once per month
  • Boxed 5% cash rewards on Boxed purchases for use on future purchases
  • ShopRunner Free membership to receive two-day shipping and free return shipping at over a hundred online retailers
  • Postmates $5 off every purchase of $25 or more (not including delivery fees, tips and taxes)
  • Complimentary 24/7 concierge service 

These are all amazing benefits for a card that doesn’t have an annual fee.

Final Thoughts

All of these changes are very customer-friendly and show that Chase is interested in gaining new customers as well as retaining old customers, even while it tightens its lending standards. 

While you can keep your Freedom card, It might make sense for a lot of current cardholders to product-change from Freedom to the new Freedom Flex after it comes out on September 15. I am glad to see the drugstores as the new bonus category – that’s a unique feature that makes the card stand apart even more. 

3% rewards on dining matches the much more expensive Chase Sapphire Reserve’s return on dining and is better than the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card that only offers 2X on dining. 

These new cards are marketed as cashback cards, however, you can easily convert cashback into much more valuable Ultimate Rewards. In order to be able to redeem Ultimate Rewards for travel, either through the portal, or by transferring points to partners, you still need to have one premium card, such as Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Chase Ink Business Preferred.   

Will you need to keep your Chase Sapphire Reserve now that these no fee cards have these new bonus categories? Chase Sapphire Reserve still comes out ahead in the very broadly defined travel purchases categories where it earns 3X on everything from tolls, to parking to airline purchases. 

While both cards will earn 5% back on travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards travel portal, not all travel purchases could be made through the portal. For example, you can’t buy train or bus tickets. The prices are often higher in the travel portal, so it’s important to always compare prices first.  

Chase Sapphire Reserve also comes with a whole lot of travel protection benefits but If you have another high annual fee card, such as the Platinum Card from American Express, there’s quite an overlap in benefits. 

Also note that these no fee cards have foreign transaction fees, so if you want to keep earning Ultimate Rewards on bonus categories such as dining and travel abroad, you’d still need a card that doesn’t charge foreign transactions fees.   

Happy Travels,

Anna